The President of the European Commission (EC), Jean-Claude Juncker, warned on Wednesday that one cannot speak of "real progress" in the negotiation of Brexit until the United Kingdom does not present a feasible proposal to replace the Irish safeguard , something that has not happened yet.
Juncker began his speech with a blow to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: "This Parliament is open and it works, and not extended," reports "The Times." The "extension" is the name given to the closure of the British Parliament, the suspension of the session.
In a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Juncker described as "palpable" the risk of leaving the United Kingdom on October 31 without an agreement, despite the fact that the British Parliament has passed legislation that obliges the Executive to request a delay from Brexit from Brussels if an agreement has not been reached on October 19.
Juncker said that any agreement that can avoid this sudden exit must contain the Irish safeguard deplored by the British Government, which, he recalled, ensures that there is no hard border on the island of Ireland, preserves the European single market and protects the close relationship between the north and the south of the island.
“I told Prime Minister Johnson that he had no emotional bond with the safeguard, but that I support the objectives for which it is designed. That is why I asked the Prime Minister to come with written operational proposals to help us achieve these goals, ”said the president of the community Executive.
Until this proposal is produced, Juncker added, "I cannot tell you by looking into your eyes that no real progress has been made."
After having lunch with Juncker on Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there are "several ideas" on the table to allow the entire United Kingdom to leave the EU and at the same time comply with the principles of safeguarding, but Brussels insists that these proposals have not yet been submitted in writing.
“The Commission is prepared to work day by day, day by day, from morning until evening to find political and technical solutions. I don't know if we will arrive, we have little time left. What I do know is that we have to keep trying, ”said Juncker.
The debate also involved the European chief negotiator for Brexit, Michel Barnier, who stressed that issues such as the Irish border, as well as the rights of citizens or the divorce bill, will not "disappear" from the horizon even if the United Kingdom opts for a hard exit from the EU at the end of October.
"We will have to resolve these issues in any case before (negotiating) a future relationship with the United Kingdom," he warned.
Barnier asked the United Kingdom "to stop pretending that it is being negotiated" and to really do it, a claim to which Juncker joined, who said that the negotiations must pass from the technical level in which they are now to a more political rank.
The debate was marked by the bench of the Brexit party, the largest in the European Parliament with 29 seats, which, led by the europhobe Nigel Farage, pulled the comments of Juncker, Barnier and the MEPs of inter-European groups that intervened.
"Those from behind are my best friends and my fans, don't be surprised if there are cheers," Juncker joked at the interruptions of this group.
"It is fantastic that Farage and his party are making so much noise here, because in Westminster they cannot do it," liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt added, referring to the suspension of Parliament requested by Johnson until October 14.
The president of the group of the European People's Party in Parliament, Manfred Weber, also referred to this suspension and affected Johnson that, while three years ago the Brexit parties promised that Westminster would "regain control", they have now closed it.
"If the parties cannot get out of the blockade, the best thing we can do is to give people the chance to vote," said Weber, a comment that sparked the protests of the Farage bank.
For its part, the president of the Social Democratic group in the Eurocamara, Iratxe García, demanded respect for Europeans who are facing the uncertainty of Brexit and said that the pro-European forces of Parliament «show their strong support for an extension to avoid a catastrophic disagreement ».
"If more time is needed for an election or other referendum, you can count on our support in this regard," Garcia said.
Any potential extension must be requested by the British Government and its concession depends on a unanimous agreement of the Governments of the Twenty-Seven. Many MEPs in favor of the Brexit movement also participated in the debate, who demanded that the European Chamber not interfere in British politics. . (tagsToTranslate) juncker (t) parliament